Routes » Vapor Trail 125
The Vapor Trail 125 is a high altitude route in central Colorado, featuring some of the most famous trails, such as the Monarch Crest. The route was originally conceived of and used by Absolute Bikes for its annual event held in September. With a good mix of road climbs and singletrack descents, it makes a perfect bikepacking or solo ITT route.
The route starts and ends in downtown Salida, where there is plenty of public parking and access to a bike shop (Absolute) and grocery stores. Pavement and dirt roads provide a nice warm up before the action begins on the Colorado Trail at Blanks Cabin. After the singletrack, pass the historic mining and railroad towns of St. Elmo and Hancock before making your way over the Continental Divide at the site of the Alpine Tunnel, which was only open and in use for a short time in the early 20th century. After topping Tomichi Pass (over 12,000′) continue to climb on steep trail to Granite Mountain and the high point of the Vapor Trail. The reward for the steep hike-a-bike is a 9 mile descent of the epic Canyon Creek Trail. Old Monarch Pass provides a nice steady grade to regain the divide, which you then follow for many blissful miles on the Monarch Crest Trail. Here the route gets a little nutty with an internal loop of the Starvation Creek trail. Is the sweet singletrack descent worth the climb back up to Marshall Pass? You decide. Otherwise continue on Silver Creek and the ever flowing Rainbow Trail, the perfect way to end any ride, let alone a 125 mile epic. Easy pavement takes you back to Salida.
Though the route is only 125 miles and can be done in a day, it is not an easy day, and the race starts at 10pm since few can complete it during daylight hours. There are so many beautiful vistas and perfect camp sites that bikepacking the route makes a lot of sense.